Species Profile

Rough Agalinis

Scientific Name: Agalinis aspera
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Manitoba
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2006
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v); C2a(i)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: An herbaceous annual having a restricted geographical range and occupying small prairie remnants mainly along roadsides in southern Manitoba. The few small populations are at risk from such impacts as late season mowing, burning, overgrazing and road expansion.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents


Rough Agalinis is an annual herb that reaches 8 to 35 cm in height in Manitoba specimens. It has a slender, erect stem with very little branching. The leaves of this flowering plant are hairless and rough to the touch, hence the common name Rough Agalinis. The long, narrow leaves measure 1 to 4 cm in length and 0.8 to 1.5 mm in width. They are arranged in pairs on the stem. The flowers are purple-pink and are borne in elongated clusters on slender, nearly erect stalks. Each cluster has 4 to 18 flowers. Each flower lasts for only a day, so only one or two flowers are seen at a time. The fruit is a dark brown oval-shaped capsule. This dry fruit contains numerous tiny diamond-shaped seeds.


Distribution and Population

Rough Agalinis occurs throughout the central plains of North America from Manitoba to Texas. It is probably most common in Iowa and Nebraska, but it has also been recorded in Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, northern Texas, southwestern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and eastern North Dakota and South Dakota. The distribution in Canada is limited to 11 known sites from six rural areas in southern Manitoba—Grosse Isle, Warren, Woodlands, St. Laurent, Poplar Point, and Brandon. The Canadian population of Rough Agalinis was very small in 2004, but it is possible that it fluctuates from year to year. Numbers of plants were very small at all locations, ranging from one to perhaps a maximum of 50 plants, with a total likely not exceeding 230 plants. Previous studies are not available to establish trends.



This is a prairie species found in wet meadows that are often at risk due to drainage or heavy grazing (this type of habitat is often used for pasture). The plants occur where vegetation is sparse and open, allowing full exposure to the sun. The soil is alkaline, with exposed patches of bare stony soil and limestone gravel. Soil disturbance appears to be tolerated. The Canadian sites represent remnant prairie habitats found primarily along roadsides.



Rough Agalinis is an annual species that blooms from late July or early August until the end of August or early September. The large flowers attract pollinating insects, such as bumblebees, which ensure fertilization. This means that a plant isolated from other plants of the same species may still be able to produce seed. The anatomy of the flowers also seems to indicate that Rough Agalinis is capable of self-fertilization, meaning that it can use its own pollen for fertilization. This phenomenon has not been studied in Rough Agalinis, but it would be a significant feature considering the small size of the Manitoba populations. In September, each capsule produces numerous small light seeds, which are probably dispersed locally by the wind, although some may be picked up on the feet of birds and other animals. Like all Agalinis species, Rough Agalinis is hemiparasitic, meaning that it relies on other flowering plants for some of its nutrients. The plant connects to the host plant via specialized roots called haustoria, by which it is able to obtain water and dissolved nutrients. Host preference is not currently known.



All prairie habitat suitable for Rough Agalinis has been reduced by the expansion of agricultural activity in the province of Manitoba. The species occupies small prairie remnants, mainly along roadsides, in the southern portion of the province. Eight of the 11 Canadian sites of Rough Agalinis are in road allowances, where the right combination of bare soil and sparse vegetation is found. Any major disturbance of the road allowance for road expansion or road straightening would put these populations at risk. Mowing late in the season, when the flowers and capsules are present, could pose a threat. Extensive damage to the seed capsules has been observed at Woodlands as a result of late-season mowing. The impact of fire on this species is currently unknown, but it appears that extensive burning undertaken at the Grosse Isle prairie reduced the population there. Overgrazing could pose a threat, particularly at the Poplar Point sites, where the impact of grazing appears to be significant. Lastly, the populations may be at risk simply because of their small size.



Federal Protection

The Rough Agalinis is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

In Manitoba, Rough Agalinis receives no protection under provincial legislation.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Rough Agalinis (Agalinis aspera) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Rough Agalinis Agalinis aspera in Canada (2006-08-30)

    Rough Agalinis (Agalinis aspera) is a dicotyledonous (having two embryonic leaves) flowering plant that is currently considered a member of the broomrape family (Orobanchaceae). It is a slender annual herb with narrow linear roughened leaves that are opposite to sub-opposite. Manitoba plants grow up to 35 cm tall and exhibit very little branching. Flowers are borne in a short raceme on stalks that are slender but nearly erect. Only one or two of the showy pink flowers are seen at a time because they only last for a day. The fruit is a dark brown oval-shaped capsule containing numerous tiny diamond-shaped seeds.

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Rough Agalinis (2006-11-29)

    An herbaceous annual having a restricted geographical range and occupying small prairie remnants mainly along roadsides in southern Manitoba. The few small populations are at risk from such impacts as late season mowing, burning, overgrazing and road expansion.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Rough Agalinis (Agalinis aspera) in Canada (2015-12-30)

    The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Rough Agalinis and has prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with provincial jurisdictions in which this species occurs: Manitoba.


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007-05-16)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 141, number 26, December 13, 2007) (2007-12-26)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006-12-28)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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